Junior CASA: Arjoon, Verwey and Wiltshire deliver gold for Guyana

- Gomes settles for silver in Girls Under-19 final

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By Akeem Greene

akeem@newsroom.gy

Avery Arjoon, Nicholas Verwey and Shomari Wiltshire won gold for Guyana at the ongoing Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships at the Georgetown Club on Tuesday.

It meant Guyana won three out of the ten titles that were up for grabs in the individual segment of the premier junior squash tournament in the region.

Guyanese Avery Arjoon (left) and Josie Thong of Trinidad and Tobago in the Girls Under-13 final

Arjoon, the daughter of squash great, Roger Arjoon, had to dig dip to topple Trinidadian Josie Thong in the Girls Under-13 final, which went the full five sets.

The 12-year-old lost the first set 8-11, but rebounded to win the next two 11-9, 11-9, with her father just beyond the backboard offering support.

Thong then won 11-6 to square the match and it was all down to the final match, which had a nervy start for Arjoon, but she pulled through to win 11-9.

Guyanese pair Nicholas Verwey (green and black) and Michael Alphonso in action

In the Boys Under-17 final, Guyana was assured of a gold medal but it was a matter of who, as Verwey clashed with local rival, Michael Alphonso, a Caribbean Under-15 champion at his last Junior CASA.

However, the odds were in Verwey’s favour, as he was the number one seeded player due to toppling Alphonso in recent tournaments, and a renewed composure on the court.

He lost the first set 10-12, raising questions on whether the old ways of slight panic had returned, but it later proved nothing of the sorts.

Verwey, in just his third Junior CASA, returned and played silky smooth, pushing the legs of Alphonso and winning points off of his serve to close out the match 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.

Guyanese Shomari Wiltshire controls the run of play against Darien Benn of Barbados

Wiltshire does it again

Before the championships commenced, there was an extremely high expectation that the prolific Wiltshire would win another individual title and sign off his Junior CASA career with a bang.

He did just that in another iconic and tactical masterclass against the number two seed, Barbadian Darien Benn.

He gifted a few points after some enterprising rallies, but there was no doubt who was in control.

Some cheeky shots by Wiltshire hardly brought a grin, just a squeezing of the fist, knowing each time he was a point away from entering the history books.

The final scores read 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 in Wiltshire’s favour and it meant he joined the elite company of Richard Chin, Roger Arjoon, and Nicolette Fernandes as the Guyanese who have won all of the age-group individual titles at Junior CASA.

Kirsten Gomes had to settle for silver in the Girls Under-19 category

In the Girls Under-19 final, the only other final a Guyanese was contesting, Kirsten Gomes battled extremely hard, but had to settle for silver.

Gomes went down to Barbadian Sumairaa Suleman in a five-set thriller, where the Bajan came from behind to win 7-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.

The Guyanese still has another year at the Under-19 level and plans on working harder to win next year.

On Wednesday morning, the team segment commences at the Georgetown Club and the National Racquet Centre and concludes on Saturday.

There is optimism in the Guyanese camp that after last winning the overall title in 2016, their 12th in succession, they can regain the crown this year given the depth in the squad.

The overall defending champions are the Bajans.

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